Parallel session
Inequality in the developing giants

Inequality is a key development challenge and ‘reducing inequality within and among countries´ is at the very core of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

Inequality has also been a recurring theme in UNU-WIDER’s work programmes over many years; and the Institute is presently implementing a research programme consisting of detailed country case studies of how inequality is evolving in five of the world’s largest developing countries: China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

This session will review the five country syntheses, and new evidence on long-term trends in inequality, with special focus on the determinants of earnings inequality, the role of top incomes, and the distributive impact of public policies in these cases. What happens in these emerging economies is an essential element in coming to grips with inequalities worldwide moving forward.


Session videos

Parallel 4.3 | Inequality in the developing giants

Shi Li | Murray Leibbrandt | Marcelo Neri | Peter Lanjouw | Q&A


Finn TarpFinn Tarp | Chair

Professor Finn Tarp has four decades of experience in academic and applied development economics research and teaching. His field experience covers more than two decades of in-country work in 35 countries across Africa and the developing world more generally, including longer-term assignments in Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. He is the Director of UNU-WIDER since 2009 and also Professor of Development Economics at the University of Copenhagen.

Shi LiShi Li | Presenter | Presentation

Li Shi is Professor of Economics in the School of Economics and Business and Acting Director of the Institute for Income Distribution at Beijing Normal University. He is member of the Advisory Committee of Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and member of Advisory Committee of Poverty Alleviation Office of State Council, China. His current studies focus on income distribution, poverty and rural migration in China.

Murray LeibbrandtMurray Leibbrandt | Presenter | Presentation

Murray Leibbrandt is Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town and a Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER leading the South African arm of UNU-WIDER’s Inequality in the Giants project. Professor Leibbrant’s research focuses on South African poverty, inequality and labour market dynamics using survey data and, in particular, panel data. He has written extensively on these topics, having published a wide range of journal articles, book chapters, and books.

Marcelo NeriMarcello Neri | Presenter | Presentation

Marcelo Neri is the Director and founder of the Center for Social Policies at the Getulio Vargas Foundation. Previously he was the Secretary-General of the Council of Economic and Social Development (CDES), President of the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and Minister of Strategic Affairs in Brazil. He has evaluated policies in more than a dozen countries and also designed and implemented policies at three government levels in Brazil. He has been twice cited as one of the 100 most influential Brazilians.

Peter LanjouwPeter Lanjouw | Presenter | Presentation

Peter Lanjouw is a professor in the faculty of Economics and Business Administration of VU University Amsterdam. Professor Lanjouw previously worked in the research department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. His research focuses on the measurement of poverty and inequality as well as the analysis of rural development, notably via the study of village economy in rural India and the broader process of rural non-farm diversification.